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that Perfon's reputation. And all this, with as little provocation from Mr. Pope's conduct in his poetic, as in his civil character.
For though he had got a Name (the reputation of which he agreeably rallies, in the defcription he gives of it) yet he never, even when most in fashion, set up fora Patron, or a Dictator amongst the Wits; but ftill kept retired in his ufual privacy; leaving the whole Cafalian fate, as he calls it, to a Mock Mecenas, whom he next describes (ver. 124. to 261.)
And, ftruck with the fenfe of that dignity and eae which fupport the character of a true Poet, he breaks out into a paffionate vow for a continuance of the full Liberty infeparable from it. And to fhew how well he deferves it, and how fafely he might be trufted with it, he concludes his wifh with a description of his temper and disposition (ver 26€ to 271.)
This naturally leads him to complain of his Friends, when they confider him in no other view than that of an Author; as if he had neither the fame right to the enjoyments of life, the fame concern for his highest interests, or the fame difpofitions of bene. volence, with other people.
Besides, he now admonishes them, in his turn, that they do not confider to what they expofe him, when they urge him to write on; namely, to the fufpicions and the displeasure of a Court; who are made to believe, he is always writing; or at least to the foolish criticisms of court-fycophants, who pretend to find him, by his style, in the immoral libels of every idle fcribler: though he, in the mean time, be so far from countenancing fuch worthless trash in others, that he would be ready to execrate even his own best vein of poetry, if made at the expence of Truth and Innocence: "Curst be the verse, how well foe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe:
Or from the foft-ey'd Virgin steal a tear."
Sentiments, which no effort of genius, without the concurrence of the heart, could have expreffed in ftrains fo exquifitely fublime. That the fole object of his refentment was vice and baseness: In the detection of which, he artfully takes occafion to speak of that by which he himself had been injured and offended: and concludes with the character of One who had wantonly outraged him, and in the moft fenfible manner (ver. 270 to 334.)
And here, moved again with fresh indignation at his flanderers, he takes the advice of Horace, fume fuperbiam quæfitam meritis, and
draws a fine picture of his moral and poetic conduct through life. In which he fhews that not fame, but VIRTUE, was the conftant object of his ambition: that for this he opposed himself to all the violence of Cabals, and the treacheries of Courts: the various iniquities of which having diftinctly specified, he fums them up in that most atrocious and fenfible of all (ver. 333 to 360.),
"The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
But here again his Friend interrupts the ftrains of his divine en. thusiasm; and defires him to clear up one objection made to his Conduct at Court. "That it was inhumane to infult the Poor, and ill breeding to affront the Great." To which he replies, That indeed in his purfuit of Vice,he rarely corfidered how Knavery was circumftanced; but followed it, with his vengeance, indif ferently, whether it led to the Pillory, or the Drawing-Room (ver 359 to 363.).
But left this fhould give his Reader the idea of a favage in. tractable virtue, which could bear with nothing, and would pardon nothing, he takes to himself the fhame of owning that he was of so easy a nature, as to be duped by the flenderest appearances; a pretence to virtue in a witty woman: so forgiving, that he had fought out the object of his beneficence in a perfonal enemy: fo humble, that he had fubmitted to the converfation of bad poets: and so forbearing, that he had curbed in his resentment under the moft shocking of all provocations, abuses on his Father and Mother (ver. 367 to 388.).
This naturally leads him to give a short account of their births, fortunes, and dispositions; which ends with the tenderest wishes for the happiness of his Friend; intermixed with the most pathetic defcription of that filial Piety, in the excrcife of which he makes his own happiness to confift:
"Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the Cradle of repofing Age;
With lenient arts extend a Mother's breath,
Make Languor fmile, and smooth the bed of Death;
And keep a while one Parent from the fky!"
And now this incomparable Poem, which holds so much of the DRAMA, and opens with all the disorder and vexation that every kind of impertinence and flander could occafion, concludes with the utmost calmnefs and ferenity, in the retired enjoyment of all the tender offices of FRIENDSHIP and PIETY (ver. 387 to the End). WARBURTON.
In this kind of writing, Pope is unrivalled; the Imitation has all the air of an original, and is at once lively, pointed, and happy.
One Imitation from Horace has been, for obvious reafons, rejected. I must ever feel regret, that my late refpected mafter was fo inconfiderate as to admit it in his Edition. Pope certainly never owned it. How indeed could he own a production written in his earlier day, which "called virtue, hypocrite ;" and was doubly odious, as coming from a man who profeffed, with such parade,
"In virtue's caufe to draw the Pen!"
It were also to be wished, that charity had induced him a moment to pause, before he published some lines, which no provocation from woman to man could juftify: I need not point them out. Let us also remember, that Satire in verse must be deliberate, and therefore is lefs excufable. I am not attempting to plead the caufe of affected candour; but of thofe feelings, which distinguish the man, and the gentleman.
PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
fhut the door, good John! fatigu'd I faid,
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
VER. 1. Shut, but the door, good John!] John Searl, his old and faithful fervant; whom he has remembered, under that character, in his Will: of whofe fidelity Dodfley, from his own obfervation, used to mention many pleafing inftances. His wife was living at Ecclefhall, 1783, ninety years old, and knew many anecdotes of Pope. WARTON.
VER. 1. Shut, but the door,] This abrupt exordium is animated and dramatic. Our Poet, wearied with the impertinence and flander of a multitude of mean fcriblers that attacked him, fuddenly breaks out with this fpirited complaint of the ill-ufage he had sustained. This piece was published in the year 1734, in the form of an Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot: It is now given as a Dialogue, in which a very small share indeed is allotted to his friend. Arbuthnot was a man of confummate probity, integrity, and sweetness of temper: he had infinitely more learning than Pope or Swift, and as much wit and humour as either of them. He was an excellent mathematician and physician, of which his letter on the Useful
What walls can guard me, or what fhades can hide? They pierce my Thickets, through my Grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They ftop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10
Is there a Parfon much be-mus'd in beer,
nefs of Mathematical Learning, and his Treatise on Air and Aliment, are fufficient proofs. His tables of ancient coins, weights, and measures, are the work of a man intimately acquainted with ancient history and literature, and are enlivened with many curious and interesting particulars of the manners and ways of living of the ancients. The History of John Bull, the best parts of the Memoirs of Scriblerus, the Art of Political Lying, the Freeholder's Catechism, It cannot rain but it pours, &c. abound in strokes of the most exquifite humour. It is known that he gave numberless hints to Swift, and Pope, and Gay, of fome of the most striking parts of their works. He was fo neglectful of his writings that his children tore his manufcripts and made paper-kites of them. Few letters in the English language are fo interefting, and contain fuch marks of Chriftian refignation and calmnefs of mind, as one that he wrote to Swift a little before his death, and is inferted in the third volume of Letters, p. 157. He frequently, and ably, and warmly, in many converfations, defended the caufe of revelation against the attacks of Bolingbroke and Chesterfield.
VER. 13. Mint] A place to which infolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there fuffered to afford to one another, from the perfecution of their creditors.